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Failed UN panel extension unlikely to lead to more provocations by North: experts

2024-07-23 05:02:35      点击:358
 Diplomats participate in a United Nations meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York City,<strong></strong> May 11, 2022, where they discussed missile tests by North Korea. AFP-Yonhap

Diplomats participate in a United Nations meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York City, May 11, 2022, where they discussed missile tests by North Korea. AFP-Yonhap

Russia's veto ends 15-year push for monitoring of UN sanctions against PyongyangBy Kwak Yeon-soo

The U.N. Security Council’s (UNSC) failure to extend the mandate of an expert panel that monitors the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea is unlikely to lead to more military and nuclear provocations by the reclusive regime as other U.N. measures and resolutions still remain in effect, according to experts, Friday.

A veto by Russia put an end to the 15-year push of monitoring of U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program. The panel’s mandate had been extended annually since it was launched in 2009 in line with UNSC Resolution 1874, adopted in response to the North's second nuclear test in May the same year.

In Thursday's vote of the 15-member council, 13 countries voted in favor of the resolution with China abstaining. The panel’s mandate is set to expire on April 30.

North Korean experts said Russia’s exercise of its veto power was widely anticipated, citing the establishment of close ties between Moscow and Pyongyang amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

“Russia’s exercise of the veto came as the two countries have been deepening their military ties,” said Koh Yu-hwan, emeritus professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University. "Russia has received munitions and ballistic missiles from North Korea for its war in Ukraine with the latter seeking military technology assistance in return."

Yang Moo-jin, the president of the University of North Korean Studies, said not only a closer alignment between Pyongyang and Moscow but also the growing animosity between the U.S. and Russia has played a key role in abolishing the monitoring of U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

“The hostility between the U.S. and Russia has pushed the latter to build closer ties with North Korea. Their strategic relations are inherently intertwined. Also, there have been growing criticisms within the U.N. Council that sanctions are useless,” Yang said.

The South Korean government expressed deep regret over the failure to adopt the resolution due to Russia’s veto.

“Russia’s exercise of its veto abolished the expert panel that has been faithfully monitoring North Korea’s sanctions violations, such as nuclear and missile development and weapons exports to Russia,” Kim In-ae, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Unification, said in a regular press briefing, Friday.

“Despite the suspension of the panel’s activities, we will continue to comply with sanctions against North Korea and make every effort to create an environment in which North Korea has no choice but to give up on moving in the wrong direction."

Kim In-ae, deputy spokesperson for South Korea's unification ministry, speaks during a press briefing at Government Complex Seoul, Friday. Yonhap

Kim In-ae, deputy spokesperson for South Korea's unification ministry, speaks during a press briefing at Government Complex Seoul, Friday. Yonhap

Experts mostly agreed that the failed renewal of U.N. sanctions monitoring panel would not encourage North Korea to conduct more military provocations and pursue nuclear advancement in the future.

“All U.N. measures and Security Council resolutions addressing North Korea’s nuclear programs remain in effect," Koh said. "The U.S. allies and like-minded states will continue to counter Pyongyang’s unlawful actions."

Kim Yong-hyun, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, agreed, saying, “Just because the expert panel is abolished doesn’t mean there will no longer be sanctions against North Korea. The panel holds significance, but it has been ineffective in achieving its objectives."

Yang, however, did not rule out the possibility of the reclusive regime pursuing nuclear advancement.

“We have witnessed that tougher sanctions only spurred North Korea to pursue nuclear advancement. The abolition of the panel may allow North Korea to develop its nuclear and missile strategy and seek even closer ties with Russia and China,” he said.

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